Purchasing power is a real thing and our ability to choose what brands we buy allows us to become an ally instead of an active bystander towards a more inclusive world. One simple way to commemorate and partake in Women’s History Month and Multiculturalism, is to shop at brands that are female owned (#girlpower) or doing the work of having diversity among their team at the forefront! Diversity is an important factor to consider when parting with your hard-earned money, but Arbor is here to help. We’ll highlight those brands whose sustainability values align with yours - yes, diversity is one of them! - making you feel good about where you’re putting your money.

So, back to how you can become an ally for those that are marginalized. Making a common everyday purchase is not only a simply transaction but also, a vote for the kind of world we want to see. Supporting brands that opt for diversity and ethical business practices allows you to become more mindful consumer, while contributing towards a more equitable world. You begin to ask yourself the four W's (and one "H"): who is involved, what are their working conditions/rights, where are our products coming from, and how they are treated throughout the production process.

As we’ve mentioned, one of the easiest approaches is to make more ethical everyday purchases is by aligning your spending with sustainable practices, case in point those gender and racially diverse brands! We’re highlighting five ethical and sustainable BIPOC owned brands that are paving the way below. It’s time to start loving yourself for putting your money towards brands that are making some serious moves towards a more inclusive world!

“If we aren’t intersectional, some of us, the most vulnerable, are going to fall through the cracks." - Kimberly W. Crenshaw, American lawyer & civil rights advocate

1. Aff and Jam: Takes the concept of wearable arts - but really, they include hand-painting and sculpture into their designs. They blend sustainable and organic practices through the use of vintage, locally sourced and recycled items. They inspire through the empowerment of body positivity by exploring fashion not simply as garments to wear every day but to explore through art and identity. 

Wasi Clothing via wasiclothing.com

2. Wasi clothing: A Bolivian and American inspired business that advocates for South American culture and women of colour by sourcing customized and handmade items that are sustainable and one-of-a-kind. Their mantra swears by being diverse and representative of those marginalized voices - this includes both the workers who curate the materials and craft the garments. Who wouldn't consider themselves lucky to own such a cultured and unique piece?

3. Omi woods: A jewelry brand inspired by the Yoruba tradition with it’s female founder hailing from the Caribbean and Jamaican heritage. The brand focuses on carefully crafted handmade pieces using ethically sourced fair trade African gold and conflict-free metal material that supports the well-being of miners by paying fair wages.

4. Brother vellies: Another advocate for traditional and handmade African designs, they utilize equitable employment practices including fair treatment of artisans. They meld luxury accessories, cultural histories and timeless design, and in doing so foster an uncommon perspective - who doesn’t love originality? For instance, the materials used include vegetable-tanned leather and floral dyed feathers.

5. Proclaim: The brand reimagining  what is generally considered to be a “nude” lingerie line. Female founded, the brand is empowering women by showing that one size and shade does not fit all, and is truly inclusive of all skin tones as well as body sizes and shapes. On top of this, the brand uses earth-conscious materials, for instance, using “Reprieve recycled polyester” a fabric made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles (35 billion-plus!).  Look good, feel good, all while supporting a brand doing good for the planet!

“Indeed, long gone are the days of dressing purely for function. Today, being well-dressed is about self-expression, creativity, status and beauty but there’s an ugly side to the fashion industry. A side that the powers-that-be would rather we not know about.” - Kathleen Elie, Conscious & Chic

Your shopping habits reflect your values and believe it or not, your everyday purchases mean may than you think. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and think there isn't much you can do to help improve someone's quality of life but don't worry, because there is and it's as easy as making more conscious purchasing decisions! When it comes to celebrating multiculturalism, we can make an impact by supporting brands that advocate for diverse, inclusive and ethical business practices.

What do you think are other ways to bring more diverse representation to the brands that we love? Take Your Arbor’s Shopping Values survey today and discover your top three values so you too can be the change you want to see in the world!